The Mind Robber

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PRODUCTION INFO

Name

The Mind Robber

Serial Code

UU

First Transmitted

14 September 1968

Final Ratings

7.3m

DVD RELEASE

DVD

VHS RELEASE

VHS

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CAST

Regular Cast

Patrick Troughton (Dr Who), Frazer Hines (Jamie), Wendy Padbury (Zoe)

Guest Cast

Emrys Jones (The Master), John Atterbury, Ralph Carrigan, Bill Wiesener, Terry Wright (Robots) [1,4-5], Hamish Wilson (Jamie) [2-3], Bernard Horsfall (A Stranger / Gulliver) [2-5]†, Barbara Loft, Sylvestra Le Tozel, Timothy Horton, Christopher Reynolds, David Reynolds, Martin Langley (Children) [2,5], Paul Alexander, Ian Hines, Richard Ireson (Soldiers) [2-3,5], Philip Ryan (Redcoat) [2-3], Christine Pirie (Princess Rapunzel) [3,5], Sue Pulford (The Medusa) [3-4], Christopher Robbie (Karkus) [4-5], John Greenwood (D’Artagnan and Sir Lancelot) [5], David Cannon (Cyrano) [5], Gerry Wain (Blackbeard) [5].

CREW

Written by Peter Ling
Directed by David Maloney
Produced by Peter Bryant

sypnosis

To escape from the volcanic eruption on Dulkis, the Second Doctor uses an emergency unit. It moves the TARDIS out of normal time and space. The travellers find themselves in an endless void where they are menaced by white robots.

Having regained the safety of the TARDIS, they believe they have escaped – until the ship explodes. They find themselves in a land of fiction, where they are hunted by life-size clockwork soldiers and encounter characters like Rapunzel, the Karkus, and Swift’s Lemuel Gulliver.

This domain is presided over by a man known only as The Master – a prolific English writer from 1926 – who in turn is controlled by a Master Brain computer. The Master is desperate to escape and wants The Doctor to take his place, while TThe Master Brain plans to take over the Earth.

The Doctor engages The Master in a battle of wills using fictional characters. Zoe and Jamie overload The Master Brain. In the confusion, the White Robots destroy the computer, freeing The Master.

NOTES

  • The story follows directly from the end of the previous story, The Dominators.
  • Working titles for this story were The Fact of Fiction and Man Power (also sometimes referred to as Manpower). The existing scripts for episodes one, two and three are titled Manpower, Another World and The Fact of Fiction respectively, even though individual episode titles were by this time no longer being used, Season 3’s four-part story The Gunfighters being the last to feature them.
  • Radio Times credits Bernard Horsfall as”A Stranger” for episodes two and three, and as”Gulliver” for episodes four and five. On-screen credits read”A Stranger” for episode two, and”Gulliver” for episodes three to five.
  • Christopher and David Reynolds’ surname is spelt as”Reynolds” for episode two, and as”Reynalds” in episode five and for both episodes in Radio Times. (The correct spelling remains uncertain.)
  • Philip Ryan (Redcoat) is credited on-screen for episode three, but is uncredited in Radio Times.
  • Hamish Wilson played Jamie in episodes two and three when Frazer Hines contracted chicken pox.
  • Episode one is the only episode in the series’ history to have no writer’s credit, either on-screen or in Radio Times.
  • This story was planned as a four-part serial, but was increased to five after the previous adventure, The Dominators, was reduced from six to five episodes. As a result, the first four episodes were only between nineteen and twenty-two minutes in length and episode five was the shortest Doctor Who episode ever at just over eighteen minutes. For this to happen, the first episode was cobbled together by the production team, making Peter Ling very unhappy.
  • Before Jamie, as played by Hamish Wilson, gets turned into a cut-out for the second time, he shouts, “Creag an tuirc!”
  • Frazer Hines joked on the DVD commentary that this is Scottish Gaelic for”vodka and tonic”. However, it is actually the motto of the MacLaren Clan of Scotland, meaning”the boar’s rock”. These are also Jamie’s last words in his last regular serial, The War Games, as he charges an English redcoat on the fields of Scotland.
  • In the novel Future Imperfect, The Doctor returns to the Land of Fiction and meets Gulliver again, only to find that he was the Time Lord Goth the whole time. Bernard Horsfall played both characters.
  • The White Robots that close in on Jamie and Zoe in the void outside the TARDIS were previously used in an episode of the science-fiction television series Out of the Unknown, “The Prophet”, originally transmitted on BBC2 on 1 January 1967. This episode now no longer exists in the BBC archives. They were also used in the BBC2 Thirty-Minute Theatre production”The Metal Martyr”, which aired on 27 December 1967 and was repeated on 28 August 1968, the second broadcast being just 17 days before the first episode of The Mind Robber aired. As with”The Prophet”, this programme no longer exists in the BBC archives either.
  • The character Gulliver speaks only lines written for him by Jonathan Swift in Gulliver’s Travels.
  • Christine Pirie (Princess Rapunzel) also contributed a voice-over reading from an extract from Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 novel Little Women for the scene in episode three where Jamie climbs through the castle window only to find himself in a hi-tech control room, but she was uncredited for this on-screen.
  • The Blackbeard and Cyrano de Bergerac shown here are the fictional depictions of real historical figures. (In-universe, the same applies to Medusa and the minotaur.)
  • This is one of the stories chosen to be shown as part of BSB’s Doctor Who Weekend in September 1990.
  • The Master of the Land should not be confused with the renegade Time Lord known as The Master, who first appeared in Terror of the Autons, more than two years after this story was first aired.
  • The Doctor dematerialises the TARDIS to escape a volcanic explosion occurring on Dulkis. (The Dominators)
  • The Land of Fiction reappears in Conundrum and Head Games.
  • One of the fictional characters encountered is the Minotaur of Greek mythology. The Third Doctor later meets the real Minotaur and also encounters the real maze. (The Time Monster) Later still, the Fourth Doctor and the Eleventh Doctor each meet related alien species physically similar to the Minotaur. (The Horns of Nimon, The God Complex)
  • In Time & Time Again, Bernice meets the Second Doctor during episode 2 of this story.
  • The Karkus returns in Legend of the Cybermen, which is likewise set in the Land of Fiction. He is the only denizen of the Land of Fiction to appear in both stories.
  • During his first incarnation, The Doctor read Gulliver’s Travels while living on the Isle of Hoy, Orkney for several years in the 1950s. (The Revenants)
  • The Doctor comes across the same riddle -“When is a door not a door?” – in his eighth incarnation. (The Chimes of Midnight)
  • When the Sixth Doctor meets Jamie McCrimmon and Zoe Heriot on a dwarf planet in the Kuiper belt, Jamie doesn’t believe he’s really The Doctor because his face changed. The Sixth Doctor then reminds Jamie how his face changed in the Land of Fiction. (Last of the Cybermen)
  • After Panda was lost in the Time Vortex, Iris Wildthyme searched for him in the Land of Fiction. (Iris Wildthyme and the Claws of Santa)
  • Action figures of the Karkus were produced. (Iris Wildthyme and the Claws of Santa)

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